Thursday, September 02, 2010

Oil Rig Explosion: Mariner Energy At Fault, No Oil Spill

According to Russia Today and The New York Times, an oil rig located in the Gulf of Mexico and just west of the British Petroleum TransOcean Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded six months ago, exploded.

The rig, owned by Mariner Energy , which says it accepts full responsibility for the accident and will work with officials, was reported not to be "actively drilling" according to The New York Times. It was not part of the deepwater drilling moratorium set by President Obama after the BP Oil explosion and spill.

Moreover, it was reported, in the same NY Times article, to have been producing 9.2 million cubic feet of natural gas a day and 1,400 barrels of oil and condensate.

But at the time the facility was being painted and sandblasted. It's not known what caused the accident.

Mariner Energy stock dropped four percent on news of the explosion.

Stay tuned.

Ti Arrested Driving Maybach In LA For Driving While Black?

Yes, Rapper and Actor, TI, the star of the movie The Takers, was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance while driving his two-toned $400,000 Maybach automobile along Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles. While it's far from the first arrest for Ti, one with any sense and honest knowledge of American cultural history has to ask if this is a case of DWB - Driving While Black.

Think about it. Ti was driving a car worth a half-million at night, without all-around tinted windows, and in an urban area that has a history of such stops. Ti was accused of making an illegal U turn, which can be easily questioned based on how the car was actually steered. In other words, perhaps Ti pulled into a driveway, then after a beat, backed out of it. The point is, the traffic stop itself wasn't necessary at all. Ti wasn't speeding and he did not run a red light.

A police officer would see someone who looks like Ti and figure it was a perfect situation to use as a reason to stop-and-search. That's what the LAPD did. That stop is perfectly described at the website Harris - Driving While Black out of The University of Dayton. Here's what the website reports:

It has happened to actors Wesley Snipes, Will Smith, Blair Underwood, and LeVar Burton. It has also happened to football player Marcus Allen, and Olympic athletes Al Joyner and Edwin Moses. African-Americans call it "driving while black"--police officers stopping, questioning, and even searching black drivers who have committed no crime, based on the excuse of a traffic offense. And it has even happened to O.J. Simpson lawyer Johnnie Cochran.

In his pre-Simpson days, Cochran worked hand-in-hand with police officers as an Assistant District Attorney in Los Angeles, putting criminals behind bars. Cochran was driving down Sunset Boulevard one Saturday afternoon with his two youngest children in the back seat when a police car stopped him. Looking in his rearview mirror, Cochran got a frightening shock: "the police were out of their car with their guns out." The officers said that they thought Cochran was driving a stolen car, and with no legal basis they began to search it. But instead of finding evidence, they found Cochran's official badge, identifying him as an Assistant District Attorney. "When they saw my badge, they ran for cover," Cochran said.

Now given that history, it's also without question that Ti and his wife should know better than to have anything that looks like it might be a target for a police officer bust in their car.

Different From Paris Hilton Case

How is Ti's arrest different from Paris Hilton's? In that case, A Las Vegas motorcycle police officer smelled the smoke from their marijuana and stopped them. Which means they were just being stupid, driving with the windows down near the The Wynn Hotel and getting high, allegedly. That was not the case for Ti. His stop was the classic traffic stop scenario that fits the DWB profile.

Was it really necessary to stop Ti? No. At that time of night, in this lousy economy, it's a safe bet Sunset Blvd wasn't teaming with cars where an alleged illegal U turn would have been unsafe. In fact, that may have made Ti easier to spot by the LAPD.

The bottom line is if you're African American, even in 2010, and you drive an expensive car, or in this case, mega-expensive, you have to be careful. DWB is still a problem; just ask Ti and Tameka Cottle.

Is the Senate Democratic majority up for grabs?

Is the Senate Democratic majority up for grabs? A great many political pundits have been asking that question in recent weeks. As of today, polls show Republican candidates running clearly ahead in four or five Senate seats now held by Democrats, with another six Democratic seats falling into the "toss-up" category.

Control of the Senate will largely depend on the outcome of those toss-up races. The Republicans have a path to majority control, but it will require sweeping every one of the closest contests.

Although much of the discussion of the 2010 midterms have focused on vulnerable House Democrats in competitive or GOP-leaning districts, after the “do nothing” Senate of 2010, GOP winning back the Senate majority can do the most harm, following the election, via a “lame duck” session this fall and then again throughout the 2011 session.

Nevada, Washington State and California, still remain the closest Senate races in the country, with the Democrats maintaining a slim lead in the polls for each state.

Currently, the Democratic Senate Caucus has 59 members: 57 elected as Democrats plus independents Bernie Sanders (VT) and Joe Lieberman (CN). To be assured a majority, the Republicans would need to gain 10 seats, since Vice President Biden would vote with the Democrats to break a 50-to-50 tie on any legislation.

So, how many seats would the Republicans gain if the election were held today? Check the charts above to see the current trends.

Republican candidates currently hold huge leads in four states now represented by Democrats: North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana and Delaware. In Pennsylvania, Pat Toomey leads by just slightly more than 5 percentage points (45.7% to 40.6%).

The latest polls show closer "toss-up" margins in another six states held by Democratic Senators: Colorado, Wisconsin, Washington, Illinois, California and Nevada. That said, Republicans would need to win five of those six contests and prevail in two similarly close contests in states currently represented by Republicans (Florida and Kentucky) to gain control of the Senate.

Remember, in late August 2006, it certainly looked like Democrats faced an uphill battle to win control of the Senate. At the time, Republican candidates led by low single-digit margins in most polls, yet the Democrats ultimately gained enough support to over the course of the fall campaign to win the 51 seats necessary to gain control of the Senate.

The morale of this story is not to let the polls dictate how you vote in November. Do your homework, as a voter and do not count on campaign commercials or biased media coverage to sway you in any certain direction. Decide for yourselves if you are represented best by the GOP (which only seems to care about the rich and big corporations) or if you should keep the Democrats in power to try and finish the job of fixing what it took George W. Bush 8 years to break.

Ti Arrested W/ Tameka Tiny Cottle In LA

Ti arrested, again, according to

Rapper, friend of Chelsea Handler, and Actor Ti, who also goes by T.I. and Clifford Harris, and his wife Tameka "Tiny" Cottle, were arrested Wednesday night for "felony possession of a controlled substance" at 10:18 PM PDY.

Reportedly, Ti was driving his Maybach down Sunset Strip and decided to make what is reported to have been an illegal U turn. The car was spotted by the LAPD, stopped, and in the process of the routine traffic stop, police officers claimed to smell marijuana.

Then police elected to search the $400,000 car and found evidence of a controlled substance, but not cocaine. Instead, it was described as allegedly a "small amount" of ecstacy.

Ti Arrested After Marriage Just After Jail

Ti was arrested just months after his storybook wedding to Tameka Cottle, and after being released from federal prison in December and after serving 7 months for illegally possessing machine guns and silencers in 2007.

Ti currently stars in the movie The Takers.

73 US Congressional seats at risk

Currently there are at least 73 US Congressional seats at risk of changing hands. Almost all (66 of 73) are held now by Democrats.

According to Wikipedia: " On November 2, 2010, halfway through President Barack Obama's first term in office. Elections will be held for all 435 House seats, representing the 50 U.S. states. Elections also will be held for the delegates from the District of Columbia and four of the five major U.S. territories. The only seat in the United States House of Representatives not up for election is that of the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, who serves a four-year term and will next face election in 2012."

37 U.S. Representatives will retire at the end of their current term and 5 vacancies will be filled by special elections before November. Congressional Quarterly projects the Democrats will take 219 seats, the Republicans 180, and they consider 29 races too close to call.

Even more races from California to New York could become competitive by November as voters look to blame someone for the sluggish economic recovery and take out their frustration on the Democrats who run the government. With 73 US Congressional seats at risk, enough seats are in play that Republicans could gain the 39 they need to reclaim the House.

The problem with this situation is, President Obama is just beginning to turn around the American economy. If the "Party of no" should reclaim the majority in the House, chances are the Congressional House Session next year will be as unproductive as the Senate has been this year.

What can America do to prevent this? The Progressive, Liberal movement in America needs to really energize their base, by swinging away at the Republican record of stagnation. For the most part, GOP members of the House and Senate have done everything possible to stall legislation that would improve American lives substantially.

Independent voters are always the 'Wild Card' in any election. Voters cannot allow their anger to override their intelligence this November. With only 2 months until Election Day, Americans really need to educate themselves about the voting records of those competing for office in their districts. Do not allow the 'fluff' and lies from Fox News to make your decision for you.

Anger can be a good thing, if it propels you into action. The Republicans with their long record of deregulation, tax breaks for the rich, 2 unfunded wars and failed economic policies responsible for the mess America is in today; the big question is: do you really want the GOP in a power position again, allowing them to finish off the American middle class for good?

iTunes Ping Really For 160 Million iTunes Users, Not Facebook, Twitter

Another take on the new Apple iTunes Ping social network's many problems. While it's being panned for its name, and its lack of Facebook connectivity, let alone lack of Twitter connectivity, the simple fact is Apple's Ping really is consistent with its overall "closed-loop" approach.

How many times have we seen the examples: Apple take years to have Mac Operating System software that talked to PCs? Or how about its recent development of its own mobile ad placement system iAd while banning Google's AdMob system in the process?

Apple has its own closed-loop World. It's fine when it comes to hardware, but fails in the World of social networks. With so many open-loop systems, Apple can't establish a closed-loop system and expect success. So talks with Facebook didn't go well in trying to work a deal to bring in Apple iTunes Ping, Apple certainly could have made a deal with Twitter. What happened there?

The truth is, Apple, once again, thinks it can go it alone.

We shall see.

Apple iTunes Ping: Seesmic Issue Aside, Ping Is Panned

Apple iTunes 10 Ping Social Network was rolled out yesterday, and to a broad chorus of "Meh." There are a number of problems right out of the gate that are to due to poor product concept and execution.

The first problem is the name itself: a direct rip-off of Seesmic's social network aggregation system.

That leads to another problem of search identity: a Google Search reveals Seesmic's just two spots over Apple's Ping, and because of the similarities, including the mention of social networking, the the fact that for Seesmic "ping" is a URL destination, Apple's Ping may never over take Seemic's

That leads to a third issue, that Golf drivers are helped by Apple's Ping error.

So, right out of the box, Apple robs itself of the maximum number of users with this online noise and confusion. But that's just the start of a list of issues.

As pointed out on Tech Blogger Robert Scoble's Twitter page @Scobleizer and by a number of friends and followers, Apple's Ping not only lacks integration with Facebook, but finding noted artists, like The Black Eyed Peas, is an improbability. Witness this tweet:

The Who." Fail. "Beatles." Fail. "Elton John." Fail. Just what kind of musician IS in Apple's iTunes Ping? @myspace wins. about 5 hours ago via web

Indeed, Apple's Ping's compared to MySpace, which is still a very relevant social network for the introduction of music artists, and comes up looking very bad. Apple's Ping fail may be the instrument for the rival of Here's another tweet of evidence:

Search on @myspace for "Black Eyed Peas" works. On Apple Ping? Nope. And they were even in an iPod commercial! about 6 hours ago via web

Apple's Slipping

Whatever's going on over at Apple, it can't seem to stop tripping over itself of late.  If it's not the name of the iPad being offensive to women, or the iPhone's antenna issue, or the decision to even name it's new music based social network Ping, and all of its other problems, Apple doesn't seem to be thinking it's product actions through to their logical conclusions.

At the very least, and in a crowded environment of social networks, Apple had many examples to follow.  In Apple's Ping, the firm doesn't seem to have learned anything from them, or followed logic.

If Facebook connectivity is expected, don't avoid giving it just because, "talks fizzled."   If Facebook was being difficult, it would have been better to broadcast that issue and use it as leverage, either for Facebook to cooperate, or to construct a workaround alternative.

Instead, it looks like Apple just said, "Screw what we don't have.  Just release it anyway."

Stay tuned.

16 Year Old Makes Million Following Steve Jobs by Suzannah B. Troy

Gizmodo reports a British teenager, 16 year old Christian Owens, has made his first million modeling himself after Steve Jobs.  This article is as entertaining to read as the news of this ambitious teenager from Corby, Northamptonshire.

Essentially he bought a Mac Book at age 13 and taught himself web design.  Owens than copied "Mac Heist" idea or should I say was greatly inspired but he made it his own calling his product, "Mac Bundle". Sounds like a hamburger special at McDonald's but this ambitious teenager is  bundles applications and he is a smart young man.  He negotiated a deal where he could sell the bundle discounted and if x amount where sold every buyer would get a free application inspired word of mouth sales which of course is the best, another feature Apple is famous for....happy customers.

Read the Gizmodo for how Christian Owens already reinvested his earnings in to another start-up company which sells advertising.  When Christian Owens was asked what is the secret to his success.  His secret to success? There's no secret, he says:

"There is no magical formula to business, it takes hard work, determination and the drive to do something great."
For Apple Lovers here is my blog post from Apple's new release of products that continue to revolutionize our world.